SCARY FACTS

  • National Geographic spelled it out in alarming terms: The United States uses more than 36 billion disposable utensils a year. Laid end to end, they could wrap around the globe 139 times.
  • Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total. Only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.
  • Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S.! That means by using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.
  • It is estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling. Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually. That’s about 307 bags per person! 
  • Half a million straws are used in the world every day. 
  • 500 billion disposable cups are consumed every year. Americans alone throw away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups annually. Styrofoam cannot be completely recycled. Most of the Styrofoam disposed of today will still be present in landfills 500 years from now. UGH.

It’s ok if it’s compostable right?

Unfortunately not : (

Last year, Boulder and Denver updated their guidelines such that even those certified compostable cups, utensils, plates and to-go containers CANNOT go in the compost anymore.

So, what CAN you do?

ACTION 1:

Create a ‘Go Bag’.

Mine consists of:

  • Reusable silverware (My go to is this cool  silverware set consisting of knife, fork, spoon, straws, straw cleaner and even CHOPSTICKS!) 

  • Silicone reusable (watertight) bag for leftovers. I obviously love the Nude Foods ones.
  • Metal water bottle – my kids love these!

Keep it in your purse, in your backpack, on your bike or in your car so that you always have something. I even carry spares to share with friends.

I use mine at:

  • The Farmers’ Market
  • Food Trucks
  • Coffee shops
  • For leftovers at restaurants
  • For any takeout

Most food service providers are happy to fill your container as it saves them money on providing you with one : )

And you’ll get to feel oh-so-smug when you whip out your container to take those yummy leftovers in – BONUS!

Remember to post in the Facebook group today introducing yourself!

Where to find new homes for your old stuff (and avoid landfill): 

However hard I try (and I try REALLY hard!) ‘stuff’ gets into my house. The kids receive plastic toys for birthdays, our basement floods and we need to replace the carpet or your husband realizes he’s never going to snowboard again and you need to find a new home for those never-used snowboard boots!

So what do you do with it all? Throwing anything in the trash is heartbreaking so the good news is that with a little effort, you can find a home for a ton of stuff that you don’t want anymore AND save someone else from buying something new. Win-win!

  1. Post all sorts of random things like sinks, drains, kids toys/bowls/cloths, carpet remnants etc for free on Facebook groups, including Boulder Babies Free Swap and Buy Nothing Boulder or Buy Nothing Denver and Outgrown Denver Baby. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it all disappears and how much of it people want!  Top tip: Post measurements, a photo, your location and how you’ll pick the lucky recipient if you have multiple requests.
  2. Post items on the Nextdoor website for your neighborhood. We ripped our old carpet out of the basement, I posted it and within the hour someone had picked it all up!
  3. Sell pretty much anything on Boulder’s Virtual Yard Sale, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
  4. If you have any nice clothes and shoes you can consign them at Common Threads or Rags in Boulder or Denver. You can also post them for sale on Poshmark which is also a great place to find clothes you’ve loved and lost or ruined. I found a Target cardigan I bought 3 years ago and lost on there and replaced a pair of jeans like-for-like that I’d spilled oil on. We also host seasonal clothing swaps in partnership with Clothing Cycle Shop, so keep your eyes peeled for those!
  5. Take unwanted creative materials to Art Parts, Boulder’s creative reuse center. Denver also has the Recreative! Check out the LONG list of what they accept HERE.
  6. Donate any extra clothing (preferably men’s), shoes, toiletries or reading glasses to Feet Forward, a local homeless non-profit run by formerly homeless people.
  7. Donate packaged, in date food to EFFA (Boulder) or Denver Community Fridges.
  8. Take any sports equipment to consign at Play It Again Sports or Boulder Sports Recycler, and if you are in Denver Secondwind Sports or Sports Plus.
  9. Take any furniture, kitchen cabinets, construction items or building materials to Resource (Boulder). This is also a great place to GET items you need!)
  10. Take old pots of paint to HMMF (Hazardous Materials).

Challenge 2:

Take a photo of something you’re going to recycle / upcycle / give away or sell this week and let us know where you took / will take it / posted it.

This is the single biggest thing you can do to save the world (and maybe even yourself : )

“Many of us, myself included, engage in painless, performative environmentalism,” Manjoo writes. “We’ll give up plastic straws and tweet passionately that someone should do something about the Amazon, yet few of us make space in our worldview to acknowledge the carcass in the room: the irrefutable evidence that our addiction to meat is killing the planet right before our eyes. ” Manjoo explains that omnivores classify vegans as “preachy” only because their mere existence exposes the cognative dissonance people experience when continuing to support animal cruelty and enviornmental destruction by eating animal products.

Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

 

According to a recent study published in The Lancet, one of the most prestigious and oldest peer-reviewed medical journals, eating a plant-based diet has up to 84% less impact than one that includes meat, fish, eggs and dairy.

The new study, led by Nicole Blackstone, assessed six categories of environmental impact:

  1. Land use, 
  2. Water depletion
  3. Climate change
  4. Respiratory inorganics
  5. Marine water eutrophication
  6. Freshwater eutrophication

Nearly all of the categories were affected up to 84 percent less by a plant-based diet when compared to one that included animal products.

Pretty compelling right?

If that’s not enough then do it for your HEALTH.

  1. It’s been proven to reduce the risk of many types of cancer and heart disease
  2. It lowers blood sugar levels and improves kidney functions
  3. Makes you SO regular (super healthy poops!)
  4. Reduces pain from arthritis
  5. It’s rich in nutrients

From my own experience:

  • I feel so energetic 
  • I’m fitter, stronger and have more stamina than I’ve ever had (seriously, I run up mountains for fun!)

If going cold turkey (or should that be cold tofu? ; ) is too much of a jump for you, try these initial steps:

  1. Order Nude Meals from Nude Foods which are made from scratch by the Nude Foods chef, are always plant-based and take about 5 minutes from jar to table.
    1. Chef’s Choice – something like a riotto / quinoa / buddha bowl with 2 sides
    2. Asian Fusion – curry or Asian-inspired dish with rice / quinoa / noodles and a yummy side
    3. Soup – hearty soup with gluten free bread and a delicious salad
  2. Start with plant-based food replacements. Instead of sausages, buy vegan sausages, instead of cheese, buy vegan cheese (like our vegan herbed feta), instead of cow breast milk buy Oat milk, instead of butter buy margarine or vegan butter. This way you don’t have to change your whole mindset of what you’re eating immediately. My faves are:
    1. We love Meati– the vegan version of the classic can-you-hear-that-crunch crispy chicken cutlet.
    2. Oat milk – I love Oatis. It’s all organic and made locally here in Boulder.
    3. Vegan Butter – I’m obsessed with Earth Balance‘s AMAZING vegan butter. Yum. (Find it at Nude Foods Market without any of the packaging : )
  3. Use flaxmeal instead of eggs (1 tablespoon of flaxmeal + 3 tablespoons of water = 1 egg in baking). I recommend going for plant-based recipes that already have this built-in as I’ve never tried simply doing a direct replacement
  4. Let go of the belief that every meal needs a central ‘thing’ to make it a meal. This was hard (and still is) for me. What do I mean by this? Non-plant-based meals are led by the meat e.g. CHICKEN with mashed potatoes and peas, FISH and chips, STEAK, green beans and potatoes, cheese-based LASAGNE and salad. Instead think of a meal as a more equally balanced plate consisting of things you might traditionally think of as sides.
  5. Here are a few of my fave meals and snacks for inspiration plus a WHOLE HEAP MORE HERE complete with links to buy.

 

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Verity’s Chocolate Pot

Put it all in a mason jar, shake it up and just add oat milk for the MOST delicious, protein packed, healthy snack that feels like a total sweet treat anytime of day.

I prep 7 at a time and have one available for every day of the week.

Toasted sourdough, avocado, tomato and hot sauce (I like Green Belly)

Brown Rice Risotto

Buy: Short grain brown ricevegetable brothnutritional yeast (use in place of parmesan)tamarisaltpepper BYO wine and add any veggies on hand

Apples and peanut butter
Banana Oat Pancakes Zoodles (zuchinni / courgette noodles)

Tofu squares

Fried Red onion

Tamari

Quinoa Tofu Stir Fry

Buy: Tofutamariarrowroot starcholive oilsesame oilquinoamaple syrupsesame seeds BYO veggies or grab our produce box

Avocado Toast with salt / chilli flakes
Overnight Oats

Buy: Oatsmaple syruppeanut butterchia seedsoat milkgranola

4 Ingredient Tomato Soup

 10-minute TVP Tacos with homemade flour tortillas

Buy: Textured Vegetable Protein (super versatile and yummy), tamariolive oilflourbaking powdersaltvegetable oil BYO salsa, red peppers and taco seasoning or make your own seasoning with chiligarlic and onion powder, red pepper flakes, oreganopaprikacumin, salt and pepper

Banana and peanut butter sandwiches / tortilla rolls
Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal

Buy: Oatscinnamonraisins

Salad – lettuce, quinoa, olives, chopped apple, roasted sweet potato cubes, homemade balsamic dressing

“Chicken” Noodle Soup

Buy:  Olive oil, Tofu tamari, nutritional yeast, carrots, celery, an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, dried parsley, vegan broth, pasta and lemon juice. (All these veggies are available at Nude Foods)

Chips and guac / salsa
Carrot Cake and Zucchini bread Oatmeal (so yum!)

Buy: Steel cut oats, oat milk, carrot, zucchini, salt, nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon, maple syrup, pecans and vanilla extract

Pasta and vegan pesto with zucchini/cherry tomatoes Creamy Peanut Butter Pineapple Tofu Rice

Buy: Short grain brown rice, Olive oil, Tofu, Pineapple (we have these at Nude Foods this week : ), peanut butter,  tamari, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, coconut milk,  chili

Cherry Cacao Patter Bars
Smoothie (1 scoop protein, 1 tbsp Mac, 2 tbsp Flaxmeal, 1 banana, blend with water or plant-based milk)

Buy: Vanilla Lacuma Protein Powder, Maca, Flaxmeal

Nude’s Best Selling Lemony Lentil Soup Nude Food’s Chef’s Choice Meal Dairy-Free Cheese Puffs
Granola and Plant-based Milk Mulligatawny Soup Nude Food’s Soup-of-the-Week Meal Nooch Popcorn
Bagel with vegan cheese Susan’s Samosas Nude Food’s Asian Fusion Meal Trail Mix

Challenge 3:

Plan to eat all plant-based one day this week. Post in the Facebook group about what you’re planning to eat : )

Also let us know if you try any of these recipes and how they are! Bonus points for including a photo.

The amount of junk mail that comes through people’s doors is INSANE.

I once bought a riding helmet for my kid and I still get these darn horse brochures coming through my door every quarter without fail!

Here’s how you stop it, or at least slow the flow:

Check out CatalogChoice. It’s described as a free service by which people can sign up to reduce junk mail and thus reduce waste, fossil fuels for transportation, and methane/pollution generated when paper waste goes to landfill or incinerators.

The other thing to do is is email each company directly to get removed from their mailing list. This takes a bit of effort but is worth it in the end! We still get more junk mail than I’d like (although I DO love looking at the crazy expensive houses in the property magazines!) but it has reduced substantially.

Challenge 4:

This is a 2-parter.

1) Sign up for CatalogChoice

2) Collect your junk mail for a week and at the end of that week, call or email each of the companies to ask them to stop sending you stuff. If you feel inspired, you could explain to them that the junk mail actually puts you off shopping with them at all.

Buying plastic crap for kids (and adults!) has almost become socially enforced. My kids love it and other people seem to love to buy it for them.

But by going along with this, we’re simply teaching them that plastic (and STUFF) is a good thing and the more of it the better.

I read a great book called Simplicity Parenting. HERE are my notes to save you some time reading it. This helped me realize that less is most definitely more when it comes to kids.

Here are 10 ways I keep the plastic (somewhat) at bay:

  1. Give them a WHY: Show them openly the devastation that plastic is doing to the earth – photos of animals surrounded by plastic in the ocean, the famous turtle with a straw in its nose and explain to them how our plastic use is leading to this. 
  2. MODELING: I model refusing plastic at restaurants, take outs etc and I’m proud to say that my girls will now tell the server they don’t want plastic whether they are with me or not. 
  3. COMMUNICATE: I BEG family and friends not to buy plastic presents or ideally any presents at all. If you review the Simplicity Parenting notes you’ll see that they propose too much ‘stuff’ is bad for children. I know I personally feel totally overwhelmed by stuff all the time so this rings pretty true for me. This is a constant battle. A family member who shall remain nameless literally bought them a big bunch of plastic straws with styrofoam cut outs to make a plastic bunch of flowers! Do they know me AT ALL??? I find giving a list of alternatives and letting them know you are happiest with either previously used stuff or experiences. 
  4. GIVING over RECEIVING: I went to a birthday party recently where the 6 year old had elected for people to donate to a cause instead of bringing her gifts. I’m working on this one for my girls and think I’ll get there if I can promise a pretty cool experience in lieu. I’m thinking horse riding lessons : ) I also think this is an amazing lesson to teach them early on. Stuff won’t make you happy, helping others just might.
  5. REDUCE the number of toys: My husband laughs because I’m literally cleaning out the playroom every 3 months of all the crap they seem to acquire. And that is with me being a total crap drill sergeant – it still seems to infiltrate somehow. My aim is for them to have about 8 stuffies, 4 board games, a few coloring books and 10 reading books out to play with. Everything else is locked in the locked ‘Toy Library’ and they have to request it then clean it up and exchange it if they want something else. To be honest, they just play with what’s out mostly and make up games with cushions and kitchen utensils. GREAT for their imagination and self-directed play.  (Update: I am failing!)
  6. EXPERIENCES over STUFF: I’m always trying to emphasize giving them fun experiences rather than presents and constantly modeling how I prefer amazing memories to more stuff. 
  7. SWAP TOYS: Younger kids are just happy with things that are new to THEM. They have no idea if it’s actually new or not. So get together with a bunch of friends and instead of buying new toys etc for birthdays and Christmas, swap among yourselves. Also check out TOY LIBRARY. You can sign up and they deliver you toys from their ‘library’ each month which you then return. They clean and sanitize and send out to another kid. I haven’t tried it yet so not sure on the packaging but it seems COOL! AND keep your eye on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist etc as you can find some awesome stuff on there.
  8. TEACH THEM HOW TO RECYCLE / COMPOST: Make this a habit and they’ll have it for life and they can pass it onto other kids. Mine are constantly sharing their knowledge at school and encouraging kids to shop zero waste.
  9. GRATITUDE: When kids do receive gifts, make sure they slow down and appreciate them. I’ve watched as kids rip through opening a ton of presents and barely glance at them. It ends up being less fun for the kids and definitely less fun for the giver.
  10. GIFT THEM WHAT THEY NEED: Keep a list of everything your kid NEEDS (new shoes, clothes, toothbrush etc) and save it all up for birthdays. That way you don’t have to double buy. For example, mine received wooden toothbrushes with their names engraved on them for Christmas one year and also receive lots of second-hand clothes from CHILDISH THINGS.

CHALLENGE 5:

Simplify your kids toys. Get a big box or bag and go and remove at least 50% of their toys and books and hide them away somewhere. Did they notice? Did it impede their playing? Did they actually end up using their imagination more?

If you are a kid-free zone, try the same thing with an area of your house. Try attacking the cupboards in the kitchen and giving away those spices and random food items you haven’t used in forever. Go through your closet and grab any item of clothing that you haven’t worn in a year and pack it away. If by the beginning of next year you haven’t gone into the box to get it, you know you no longer need it.

If you’re anything like me, you hold onto things you don’t need anymore because you KNOW there’s got to be a better home for them than the landfill.

Good news, often there is!

Nude Foods Market (3233 Walnut Street) takes a few things. Then there is a magical place called The CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials.)

This post is focused specifically on Boulder’s recycling capabilities and every town is different so please research where to recycle each of these materials wherever you live : ) I’ve done some research into what Denver’s recycling capabilities are so this is by no means a comprehensive list!

HERE is an up to date list of what CHaRM accepts. Find the CHaRM at 6400 Arapahoe Road in Boulder and HERE is the price list.

For Denver, I recommend checking out this comprehensive Denver.gov list. If you scroll to the bottom, there is Waste Directory where you search specifics, from Christmas trees to electronics to mattresses, etc.

The list below is NOT always going to contain the most up to date information so is designed to inspire you about all the things you can recycle rather than be taken as gospel. Please check the links above to confirm what is accepted and what the prices are.

WHAT? Boulder Denver
Candy Wrappers (During November only) Bring them to Nude Foods Market at 3233 Walnut Street in November! We send them off to Terracycle Will be available at Nude Foods Denver once it opens!
Batteries Ridwell / The Happy Beetle Ridwell / The Happy Beetle; The Alliance Center
Mailers (like Amazon envelopes) Nude Foods Market
Electronics Take to CHaRM. The Alliance Center: Cords, laptops, anything smaller than a laptop. Denver Solid Waste Management offers Denver residents an “E-cycle Coupon” for recycling televisions, monitors, and other electronic items at a significantly discounted rate
Plastic Appliances Charm. NO vacuum bags, glass (coffee pots, blender carafes, etc.), or food/ liquid residue.
Scrap Metal CHaRM. ITEMS AT LEAST 50% METAL, INCLUDING APPLIANCES Rocky Montain Recycling
Paper Shredding Service CHARM. Paper materials only
Glassware RESOURCE / CHaRM
Plastic Bags, Plastic Bubble Wrap & Foam Packing Sheets CHaRM

PLASTIC BAGS, PLASTIC BUBBLE WRAP & FOAM PACKING SHEETS
• All accepted in the same bin.
• Thin, bendable, translucent foam packing sheets only. See photos of packing sheets accepted at ecocycle.org/charm
• Includes plastic shopping, newspaper & ziplock bags
• Must be clean, dry and empty

NO moisture, receipts, or food waste inside bags, biodegradable plastic, tape or packing peanuts

The Alliance Center: Shrink wrap, saran wrap, ziplock bags, bread bags, tortilla chip bags (not foiled lined), cereal bags, six pack rings, flower bouquet wrapping, breast milk bags, boxed wine bags (no cap), etc.
#6 White Block Foam CHaRM

• #6 White block foam packaging and rigid foam insulation only
• Businesses: $6 per cubic yard* NO packing peanuts, Styrofoam® cups or “to-go” boxes, moisture or tape

Big Durable #2 Plastics, including plastic lawn furniture!!!! CHaRM

• Large plastics marked with a #2 such as plastic play structures, plastic watering cans, clean #2 plastic buckets (no residue), clean plastic barrels, crates, rigid backyard kiddie pools, and plastic trash containers with a #2.

Please remove non-plastic parts. Metal handles on buckets are OK.

NO inflatable pools or other inflatable plastics, flower pots without a #2, water beds, chew toys, CD jewel cases, small toys such as action figures, etc. Please cut if necessary so no larger than 3’ in any dimension.

Mattresses and Box Springs (all sizes) CHaRM Spring Back Colorado Mattress Recycling
Bicycles and Bike Parts If they’re in working order, take them to Community Cycles. Otherwise take to CHaRM. • Any condition
• Includes integral parts such as seats, pedals, etc., and metal accessories such as baskets and Pannier racks.
Try Bikes Together.
Books and Manuals Donate to Boulder Public Library. CHaRM • Computer and office manuals, hard-bound books, paperbacks Denver Public Library
Concrete • Must be clean. No metal or rocks accepted.
Cooking Oil NO motor oil or any oil used for purposes other than cooking.
Fire Extinguishers CHaRM / Resource
Porcelain Toilets, Sinks and Urinals CHaRM / Resource ReStore
Reusable Shoes and Textiles CHaRM • Paired, reusable shoes (no mud)
• Clothing, sheets, blankets, towels and fabrics Items may be stained or ripped, but must be clean.
Must be 12” square or larger. NO bathing suits, socks, underwear, curtains, or pillows. Also checkout For Days take-bake program
Check out ForDays take-back program!
Yoga Mats CHaRM
Hygiene and beauty products The Alliance Center
Examples: Deodorant, contact lens containers, make up, razors, lotions, lip stick, oxygen absorbers, perfume containers, loofahs, wet wipe containers, tooth brushes, birth control packets, hand soap dispensers, hair brushes, etc.

Note: All items must be empty.

Baby/toddler clothing, gear, toys WeeCycle WeeCycle

Challenge 6:

Go dig out those things you’ve been holding onto because you were sure there was a better place for them and take them to The CHaRM TODAY!!! 6400 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder. Mon – Sat: 9am – 5pm.

 

If you live outside Boulder/Denver, do some research and find a similar center in your area.

Please also double check all these details as CHaRM / Resource sometimes changes fees / what they accept.